FINCH SAYS LOCAL ROADS VITAL TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) stood with a bi-partisan coalition of lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate to call on the governor and Department of Transportation (DOT) to allocate greater funding through the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) directly to municipalities for infrastructure improvement. The lawmakers held a press conference this morning with several officials from the NYS County Highway Superintendents Association (NYSCHSA), NYS Association of Town Superintendents of Highways (NYSAOTSOH), NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC), New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) and the Association of Towns of the State of New York to seek action.
The governor has proposed $363.1 million in CHIPs funding in his 2013-14 State Budget, the same level as last year. The legislators and local highway superintendents are calling for a CHIPs funding increase of $100 million, from $363.1 million to $463.1 million. They note that local roads and bridges account for 87 percent of the roads, 52 percent of the bridges, and 48 percent of the vehicle mileage logged in New York State, yet fewer than 12 percent of road maintenance fees go to local upkeep.
“The state is suffering from major infrastructure problems and our municipalities are suffering the worst of this,” said Finch. “The costs to repair roads, bridges and culverts have skyrocketed, with asphalt costs rising 206 percent and material costs going up 57 percent in the last ten years. However, for the last five years, funding to the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program hasn’t gone up one penny to offset the higher costs. Improved infrastructure will play a huge role in improving our economy. The governor has already allotted $300 million to NY Works in his proposed budget; we’re asking that $100 million dollars of that go to CHIPs for our local roads and bridges. I hope we can provide this much-needed funding to our localities.”